The UK has already eased travel and entry requirements as part of the reopening of the economy. Although travel guidelines are still subject to changes depending on the level of Covid cases, conditions are generally relaxed for fully vaccinated individuals.
When traveling abroad from the UK, travelers first need to check the travel advice of destination countries. This will tell them if passengers from the UK are allowed entry, will need a fit to fly COVID test, and whether they need to quarantine after arrival.
Countries like Belgium, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, and UAE are open to UK visitors. Whether fully vaccinated or not, these countries require visitors to undergo a PCR or rapid antigen test for travel. The test must be conducted 24 to 72 hours before arrival. Individuals planning to travel abroad may book this test with a private testing center via their online portal.
Moreover, some countries like Germany, Norway, Georgia, Austria, and Finland allow unrestricted travel for tourists from the UK as long as they are fully vaccinated. These countries no longer require pre-departure and arrival Covid test, nor the need for self-quarantine as long as tourists can show proof of vaccination.
However, countries like Hungary, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Gabon, and Bermuda still require travelers to quarantine even if they are fully vaccinated. Upon the traveler’s return to the UK, they may need to take a Covid test or quarantine, depending on their vaccination status and the country they came from.
Meanwhile, travelers from abroad can now also fly to the UK without tight restrictions. For one, fully vaccinated travelers, not on the red list do not need to do a pre-departure COVID-19 test. They are also not required to quarantine upon arrival, as long as they tested negative on their day two Covid test.
Recently, the UK government also allowed the use of lateral flow tests for testing of arriving travelers. This means they may choose to do either the PCR test or the less expensive rapid antigen test for their arrival testing. Passengers can book either test from a test center’s digital platform and use its booking reference number when filling up their passenger locator form.
If, upon arrival, the tourist tests positive in their antigen test, they may take a confirmatory PCR test. They must self-isolate until the receipt of the PCR test results. If the confirmatory tests are positive, they must self-isolate for ten full days.
Moreover, non fully vaccinated individuals traveling to the UK must first take a pre-arrival Covid test three days before travel, book and pay for a PCR test upon arrival, and complete a passenger locator form. Nonvaccinated individuals must also self-quarantine in the place they are staying for ten full days.
Typically, there are two tests nonvaccinated individuals must take when they arrive in the UK. The first test must be taken on or before the end of day 2 in self-quarantine, and the second on their eighth day. Day zero starts on the day of arrival in the UK. If the second-day test is positive, the eighth-day test is no longer necessary.
Those required to self-isolate in England can opt to end their quarantine early using the test to release scheme. To avail of this scheme, travelers must book a private COVID-19 test on day five, in addition to the two compulsory tests (day two and eight), and complete another passenger locator form. If the day 5 test-to-release is negative, the tourist may stop the quarantine as soon as the results are available.